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February 19, 2008 11:03 PM

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen

Coach P.J. Carlesimo used an 11-man rotation and got away with it. For most of the contest, it looked like an exhibition game and it seemed as if during every timeout and dead ball, the Sonics were substituting.

With so many players running in and out of the game, it appeared as if they were disorganized, however, they can get away with that against a team as woeful as the Memphis Grizzlies, which squandered a 19-point second-half lead. Seattle plays playoff-bound teams in its next five games and they won't allow the Sonics to start slowly like this and still pull out a victory.

Earl Watson and Wally Szczerbiak were fantastic and clearly the heroes for the night. Nick Collison also was surprisingly effective. He can roll out of bed and finish with 12 points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes.

Jeff Green offset nine rebounds and 11 points with 3-for-11 shooting (including a blown layup on an uncontested fastbreak) and five turnovers when his agent David Faulk was in the stands.

Delonte West, who started in place of Kevin Durant, had a nice first half (nine points and five assists), but faded after the break. He finished with nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and three turnovers.

Kurt Thomas played just 14:50 minutes, which is his fewest since Nov. 14. That might be a harbringer of what's to come. Either the old vet who players affectionately call "Dirty" will be moved in a trade or he'll relocate to the end of the bench in favor of prospects Johan Petro and Robert Swift.

Swift put in 7:35 minutes of work and looked like a guy playing in just his seventh game. He failed to grab a rebound and had a point-blank layup rejected by Darko Milicic in a display that showed that he might have lost some spring in that surgically-repaired knee.

The Sonics are 1-1 without Durant. They shot a season-best 63.6 percent (7 for 11) behind the arc without the rookie, whose taken more threes (170) than anyone else on the team despite converting just 28.2 percent.

They also found a way to close the game without their closer. Szczerbiak scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including a game-winning short running jumper with 31 seconds left.

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